The Bahamas Celebrates Its 40th Birthday – Travel Special

By admin
A beach on Andros Island in The Bahamas
A beach on Andros Island in The Bahamas

by Patricia Mack

Happy Birthday To You.
Happy Birthday To You.
Happy Birthday, The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
Happy Birthday To You.

This nation of islands celebrated its 40th birthday this month, but it wants visitors to get the presents!

“It’s an important anniversary for us,” said Obediah Wilchcombe, minister of tourism, at a gala birthday bash in early June at Manhattan’s posh The 40/40 Club — a site not chosen serendipitously.

“We wanted to be here to underscore the importance of our 40th year,” said Wilchcombe. “It has not been an easy struggle to go from colony to country. But our people know now that this is their home, their nation, their place.”

Despite the big 4-0, The Bahamas is looking better than ever. The roads of Nassau Paradise Island are smoother — partly to make way for the mega-resort Baha Mar — and the Lynden Pindling International Airport is in the final phase of a complete redesign.

In celebration of its sovereign nation status, independent from Great Britain, Bahamian hotels are introducing a celebratory travel offer, and The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism is hosting a variety of cultural events open to visitors. From now through Aug. 19, 2013, travelers who book an air-inclusive package of four nights or more qualify for 25 percent off hotel stays. Bookings are valid for travel July 18, 2013 through July 18, 2014. Some blackout dates apply. [Blackout dates include, but are not limited to, Labor Day (U.S.), Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and Easter.]

“Most of our visitors are familiar with Nassau, Freeport and Grand Bahama islands, “ said Wilchcombe, “but The Bahamas is comprised of 700 islands sprinkled over 100,000 square miles of ocean starting just 50 miles off the coast of Florida. More than 50 are inhabited and they are breathtakingly beautiful, so we want to invite visitors to explore all of our islands.”

And they have such intriguing names: Abacos, Andros, Bimini, Cat Island, Eleuthera … all part of the Bahamian archipelago — an ecological oasis, its islands studded with cays and some of the clearest water on the planet, with a visibility of over 200 feet.

Throughout the summer, there is an independence-themed event almost daily on multiple islands. There’s Junkanoo on Bay Street in Nassau Paradise Island on Friday nights. Annual cultural festivals including the Cat Island Rake & Scrape, Eleuthera Pineapple Festival and North Andros Crab Festival will all incorporate tributes to the Commonwealth’s history, and Grand Bahama Island and Long Island hosted regattas last month.

“Like” The Bahamas on Facebook for event updates or visit to learn more about The Bahamas. The site also offers bookings and deals. Or, take a virtual tour around the islands, zooming in on points of interest with the Ministry of Tourism’s new web design. Photography layered with interactive hot spots provides helpful information while details on getting to the Bahamas via daily flights from the U.S. are sprinkled throughout. Travelers can also call 1-800-BAHAMAS for more information or to arrange a booking.

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